The Bank of England has today announced that the next design of the £20 banknote will be printed on a polymer substrate instead of traditional paper.
The announcement was made by Victoria Cleland, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier, at the Follow the Cash 2015 Conference hosted by the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, UK.
England is set to receive a polymer £5 banknote in the autumn of 2016, followed by a polymer £10 note a year later. The proposed polymer £20 note is expected to be launched in 3 to 5 years. This means the £50 denomination will be the only note of the England series which will remain on traditional cotton based paper substrate.
The Bank of England’s decision to use polymer came after years of research as well as public engagement and “extensive consultation with the cash industry”. The Bank reports that the new banknotes will help to reduce counterfeit banknotes being circulated, though currently this number is relatively low – 2014 saw 430,000 counterfeit banknotes removed from a total of 3 billion notes in circulation, only 0.014%.
During her speech, Victoria Cleland advised that in 2014 “cash accounted for 52% of consumer payments at the point-of-sale and was comfortably the most frequently used payment method.”
“Polymer – incorporating complex windows and sophisticated security features – delivers a leap forward in counterfeit resilience. Other central banks that have introduced polymer notes have seen a significant fall in counterfeiting. The notes are also cleaner and more durable leading to better quality notes in circulation.”
On the subject of cash use and its decline, Victoria said:
“cash is not ready for the retirement home, and certainly not the funeral home. And because there is a lot of life left in cash, we need to keep it healthy and fit for purpose.”
Read Victoria Cleland’s full speech on the Bank of England website.
Read about the Bank of England’s “Move to Polymer Banknotes”.